1. #1

    Starting to go to the gym, questions about weights and cardio.

    So I finally decided to start going to the gym. Im a 17yo guy. I am 5'11" and weigh around 130 lbs. So yeah, Im pretty skinny.

    My friend took me to the gym two times last week, and I really enjoyed it, even though I had no clue what I was doing. Even though my friend helped me a little with what to do, I still wasnt sure what exercises, how many reps, nor how much weight I should be doing. Im pretty sure I over did it because the following days after going to the gym I could not move at all. I know I should be sore after working out but I dont think I should be sore to the point of not being able to bend my leg, but I guess thats just me not used to it.

    Now my questions are:

    What exercises should I do to start out with? The gym I go to has a lot of machines and free weights.
    How many repetitions should I be doing? How many sets?
    How much weight should I start out with while doing the exercises? I know I have to increase the weight as I get stronger.

    Something else that I was curious about is cardio. I have read that while trying to build muscle you should not do cardio, but I have also heard that running for 15 mins or so to get warmed up before the work out is good, so Im not sure what to do.

    Thanks in advance
    Last edited by Oajng; 2011-08-12 at 06:49 AM.

  2. #2
    You can do cardio while trying to gain weight, you just need to eat more to compensate for the extra calories burned from cardio.
    If you're out of shape I'd recommend doing cardio with the weightlifting.
    The heart and lungs may not be visible but they're extremely important.

  3. #3
    Aren't all gyms supposed to have coaches to help you on that?

    How many repetitions should I be doing? How many sets? How much weight should I start out with while doing the exercises? I know I have to increase the weight as I get stronger.
    As far as I know, you should focus on the heavy weights to gain muscles, or focus on repetitions to gain resistance. I already saw people doing 8 sets of 5 repetions with heavy weights of one exercice, while I do 2 sets of 15 repetitions with average weights. (I usually start to get tired on the 8~10th repetition.)

    Something else that I was curious about is cardio. I have read that while trying to build muscle you should not do cardio, but I have also heard that running for 15 mins or so to get warmed up before the work out is good, so Im not sure what to do.
    Cardio is very important to warm up, you definitely should do these 15 mins before the work out.
    Last edited by Hraklea; 2011-08-12 at 02:57 PM.

  4. #4
    Train 6 days a week, with different muscle groups each day so that the muscles get a chance to rest, as that's when they grow, not when you stress them.
    Use one of those 6 days for cardio only. Rest on the 7th.
    Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps. Use weights that are enough to get you tired on the last couple of reps.
    Eat within 40 minutes of getting home from the gym.
    Evey once in a while, test your limits as far as weights go. Shock the muscle.

  5. #5
    Ok for weight lifting you gotta think about what you want. If you are trying to gain raw mass the a rep cycle that I personally found to help me gain size quick is 10-8-6-6. 10 would be your warmup. 8 you push a little. 6 and 6 you throw up as much weight as you can WHILE still being able to complete 4-6 reps in that set. Now if you were able to complete 6 reps on the last set go up 5lbs next time you work that part.

    Muscle mass gain is all about proper trainer/rest cycles and caloric intake. So if you do(which you should regardless)run during your bulk phase you need to make up for the caloric loss by eating more. When it comes to intaking protein general rule of thumb for rapid results(and if you have the money to burn)is hit a protein shake every 2-3 hours. Your body needs protein every 2-3 hours and this prevents a catabolic state in which your body pulls from the muscles. YOU NEED AT LEAST 8 hours of sleep a night. Your body repairs itself and grows OUTSIDE of the gym. The more you let your body rest the better off you will be when it comes to size gaining and prevention of sports related injuries. Now for my weekly gym routine I used to do 6 days a week. But I was deployed at that time and I had nothing to do but work,eat,workout,sleep. So for the everyday person I suggest a 3 or 4 day a week routine. During these days target 2 body parts with 4 exercies per body part. SO a chest/tri day would go like this:

    Chest:
    Flat Barbell Press
    Incline dumbbell chest press
    Decline Barbell Press
    Machine or Dumbbell fly

    Triceps:
    Skullcrushers
    Tri extensions with cable machine
    Tri push downs(both hands dont know the actual exercise name for it)on cable machine
    Third exercise since I have bad shoulders I put a 50lb dumb bell on my right shoulder lift it over my head over to the left shoulder and keep alternating. Obviously seated.

    After you get the basics comes supplementation. My current supplements Im taking is here:
    Animal Stak
    Animal Pak
    Animal Omega
    jack3d
    Cellmass
    Muscle Milk

    Obviously follow the directions if you decide to use any of these. But I personally wouldnt mess with Animal Stak until you truely feel that bulk is something you want to do.

    Follow some of the basics in here and you can gain mass rapidly as I have. I went to Iraq weighing 120lbs +/- 5lbs and coming back 168. 10.5" arms flexed to 15.5" in a matter of 4 months of hard training. These results that you gain will be purely what you put into it. If you screw around in the gym then you will not get the results you want. YOU GET WHAT YOU PUT IN.
    Last edited by Zechs-cenarius; 2011-08-12 at 03:14 PM.

  6. #6
    Do not do cardio. You are 17 years old and 130lb. It isnt needed, and youll burn calories by simply working out.

    Your gains will highly depend on your calorie intake. At your weight, you need to eat a lot more than what you are eating now. A Creatine+Protein combination will help immensely. Be sure to drink a lot of water. Consume foods such as chicken and rice.

    As far as weights go, youll want to use enough to where you are pushing your hardest by your 3rd or 4th set. During the last set, go until you cannot possibly go any longer, push until failure (unless bench pressing by yourself). The general rule for weights is If you are trying to put on pounds, you use heavier weights at lower reps. If you are going for aesthetics, use lighter weights for higher reps. You want to lift heavy.

    Do Chest and Tri one day, then Back and Bi on the other day. Legs/Cardio/Abs on another day.

    Eating/Calorie intake makes or breaks your progression.
    Last edited by Trakanonn; 2011-08-12 at 03:14 PM.

  7. #7
    I would also advise getting weight gainer. When I started lifting I was 125 and the trainer at the gym suggested it. It doesn't have to be something filled with chemicals as i take something that is pretty much all natural since then I've been able to put on over 25 pounds while lifting regularly during the week. When mixed with milk it has 960 calories and your supposed to take it 3 times a day with meals for the best result. I believe it takes 3600 retained calories to gain a pound but don't quote me on that lol
    Last edited by Hoodstomp; 2011-08-12 at 03:15 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Trakanonn View Post
    Do not do cardio. You are 17 years old and 130lb. It isnt needed, and youll burn calories by simply working out.

    Your gains will highly depend on your calorie intake. At your weight, you need to eat a lot more than what you are eating now. A Creatine+Protein combination will help immensely. Be sure to drink a lot of water. Consume foods such as chicken and rice.

    As far as weights go, youll want to use enough to where you are pushing your hardest by your 3rd or 4th set. During the last set, go until you cannot possibly go any longer, push until failure (unless bench pressing by yourself). The general rule for weights is If you are trying to put on pounds, you use heavier weights at lower reps. If you are going for aesthetics, use lighter weights for higher reps. You want to lift heavy.

    Do Chest and Tri one day, then Back and Bi on the other day. Legs/Cardio/Abs on another day.

    Eating/Calorie intake makes or breaks your progression.
    Cardio must be done. If not you will gain fat via the protein and additional protein intake. Plus not doing cardio over an extended period of time is not very wise. Pushing until pure failure is not wise either. It makes the individual more prone to injury because they will start pulling from elsewhere instead of the targeted muscle. Push to fatigue but pay attention to your body.
    Last edited by Zechs-cenarius; 2011-08-12 at 03:19 PM.

  9. #9
    Bloodsail Admiral Alex86el's Avatar
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    there should be a trainer there, who will tell you all you need.
    and usually a dietologist as well.

  10. #10
    Ideally for gaining weight you shouldn't do cardio at all, but like somebody said above if you're out of shape its definitely a good idea and I would do some.
    Normally if you're in shape/healthy you just do a warm-up set to lubricate the joints to prevent injury and be ready for the first working set of whatever you're doing.

    Contrary to popular belief you don't do cardio or even stretch before lifting weights, you do a warm up set of like 5 reps at a rather low weight. People that do cardio while lifting do it to cut fat and the best time to do it is directly after a lifting workout, and it should be 10-15 minutes of HIIT (High-Intensity-Interval-Training).

    The main reason people say not to do cardio is because it elongates your recovery period. One study noted that you aren't at your full strength until after 24 hours of a cardio session.

  11. #11
    Warchief Odina's Avatar
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    YOU MUST DO CARDIO! God I can't stand the comments of "dont do cardio you will burn more calories and not be able to mass up". Sigh if your heart and lungs are not in shape how in the hell are you suppose to ramp up your training regiment / lift heavy when your body / CARDIO will be the bottle neck holding you back!

    There are many types of cardio workouts and goals you can set with them. If you want to do weight loss you generally ramp up teh cardio and blast to 80% + THR (target hear rate) but if you want to just slowly up your cardio capabilities you can go for as little as 15 mins at 60% THR and this will also serve as a great warmup for lifting. Lifting any weights cold can lead to exess stain and or shock to tendons and ligaments...either or will put a much larget damper in your training than the 15 mins of cardio before lifting!

    As for what how and how many exercises you should do is dependant on what your ultimate goal is. You shoudl first start with drawign up an immage of what you want the final goal to be and then work towards that goal. If you want pure bulk and power you will be doing lower reps but higher weights, if you want a lean cut look with endurance it will be lighter weights with high reps... or somewhere in between with medium weights and medium reps. The one factor that must first be thoguth out is what you want to look like in the end!

    The muscles being sore can be a combination of many things but the culprits that normally stand out especially in peopel just starting to work out are : Lifting too heavy too soon, Lifting incorectly, and not stretching after workign out. Lactic acid will deff give you that sore feeling but the before mentioned three things are normally the leading contributors to exess soreness!

    I really hope you get out there and love it... getting in shape can be a real pain in the butt but when we get to our goals its sooooo worth it!

  12. #12
    OP whether or not you should do cardio seems to come down to opinions right now. The fact is that nobody trying to gain weight should do cardio because its like shooting yourself in the foot, but the problem is that nobody knows if an exception should be made for you.

    I think the best advice anybody could give you is that if you feel that you're in shape (if you've played sports in highschool or w.e) completely skip the cardio and get lifting. That's what I did and I never had a problem.

    If you don't think you're in shape I'd have to recommend taking it easy, learn proper techniques and do some cardio for a few weeks to get ready.
    Before you start any program not only do you need to have a proper diet lined up but its essential that your heart is in shape and you have proper form in every exercise.

  13. #13
    Cardio increases your Vo2 max, it's better to do it and just eat a little more than not do it at all. Among the other many benefits over just lifting, of course.

    A rookie in the gym doing annnnnyyything other than having crappy form is better than nothing at all. You will see results in some form no matter what. Do research and stick to the big lifts if you really want to get into it. Big lifts are Bench Press, Shoulder Press, Squats, Deadlifts, and try for Pullups. That's it. Do just those and I guarantee results if you do it right.

  14. #14
    Depending on your body type and goals you want to achieve should determine the amount of cardio you need. If you want to gain leaner muscle you do more cardio the opposite if you want to gain mass. I have found that doing 5-10 minutes of cardio before weight training helps gain mass but anything more is wasted effort on days your lifting. The important thing thou is finding a routine that works for you; and if you need ideas for a plan you should check out bodybuilding.com. I started with their 12 week mass building workout and saw some great results in me and a few other friends who tried it.

  15. #15
    You need to do cardio to worm up your muscles and get your heart rate up BEFORE you start lifting. But honestly, being so skinny/thin as you are, your metabolism is obviously extremely fast, so you wont notice much muscle gain unless you eat a LOT of food to compensate for the cardio+metabolism.
    I suggest taking some Whey Protein Weight Gainer daily, has about 2000 calories in it per serving, and will really bulk you up if that's what you're looking for.

    But before you do anything, consult someone. A trainer, a GNC rep, anyone, to tell you what you might personally need, because everyone is different. My workout wouldn't work for you, lol. You are a lot skinnier than me, and my metabolism is probably half of yours. So the way I workout is different than the way you would.

    I would start with the simple bench press and bicep curls with dumbells. And some leg presses, nothing too heavy. Just build up that cartilage for a few days and then start adding some weight on.

    The thing to remember about weight lifting: Very heavy sets with few reps = mass, Very light sets with a lot of reps = leaning. If you're looking to gain mass, do heavy reps. For chest, I'd do what's comfortable, but push it, do 3 sets of 8 or so. Everyday, add some weight on until you see some mass improvement. Same with biceps.

  16. #16
    http://www.amazon.com/New-Encycloped.../dp/0684857219 Just get arnolds book... yeah yeah he juiced but his book is full of great info on all aspects of lifting and nutrition for adding bulk it's a must have for any beginner. Oh and most supplements are just marketing scams, just eat lots of protien.
    Last edited by helios78; 2011-08-12 at 03:58 PM.

  17. #17
    The absolute first thing you should do is to question the trainers who work there, who are educated in the matter.

    I would suggest that you visit this site to get a lot of information how to train, what to train, how to eat, what not to do and other very important things while lifting weights.

    www (dot) scoobysworkshop (dot) com/index (dot)htm (not allowed to post links, but this homepage is great)

    If you just started working out I would suggest not massing up weight. If you're new to the gym and lift as much weight as you possibly can 2-3 times you're doing it wrong. Rather go with the lower weight and lift 20 reps with 3 sets so your muscles get used to the movement and so that your brain knows what you're doing.

    Do not forget about cardio either. Try how far you can run one day and then you run that same distance (about 2-5km) and you will see an impovement. Do not forget to always bring a bottle of water while working out.

    Good luck

  18. #18
    I feel like i should just make a copy/paste version of this. I'm gonna break this up into a nice guide and just copy and paste it in all these threads now.

    If you want to gain muscle and you are a small/skinny guy (even if you're tall):

    The best way to gain pure muscle is by lifting and eating an excess amount of calories. The lifting breaks down the muscles and the excess calories allows so that your body can then rebuild them bigger and stronger before (a very very very simplified version of why it works).

    I suggest for anyone who wants to gain some muscle to have at least a 500+ calorie excess (for you probably more), especially when you are already skinny, it's also a good idea to up your protein intake to roughly half your weight in grams (if you weigh 100 pounds, eat 50 ish grams of protein, if you weight 200, eat 100ish grams of protein).

    Find your base metabolic rate here - http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm

    You should also take into account the activities you do each day - http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc- Both of these are rough estimates so they're not perfect by any means, and they for the most part as far as i know don't take into account how body composition affects calorie usage and how metabolism differs between person.

    The hands down best way to increase muscle size is to mix up what you do and what type of sets you do. The idea of "Muscle Confusion" (coined by p90x) is relatively correct even though it's just a name of a very well known technique that's been around forever. As you do something your body tends to accommodate it, and after doing the same action time and time again your body doesn't grow from it as much (we're talking doing something several times in a row like for a couple weeks straight). So the goal is to switch up exercises every couple weeks, and I even make a note of changing up set ratios for each day.

    Type of sets:
    High weight - low rep - For these sets i usually pick a heaver weight obviously and do about 6-4 reps depending on weight - usually referred as the bulking technique.
    Medium weight - medium rep - Pick medium weight- do medium rep, i usually do a 12-10-8 set or a 10-8-6 set. Each time the reps get lower i increase the weight by one interval
    Low weight - high rep - Lower weight than the others but a higher rep, i try to go for 14-14-14 for these depending on the type of set i'm doing - usually referred to as the more refined technique.

    Personally i try to switch between these sets every other day or so. It's important to push yourself on every set though.

    I tend to favor free weights over machines any day, because it's more of a natural motion and the idea of isolated movement, while useful in some situations is kind of a less than effective measure when compared with free weights if you can maintain good form.

    As for the weight, that's up to you personally. I know people who weigh 200 pounds that have issues curling a 20 lb. weight, I also know people of my weight that can curl 40 lb. weights relatively easy. The idea however is to make sure it's enough that you're going to be struggling to get that last rep done on each set. It's also a great idea to make a goal and a sort of schedule if you're really interested in gaining. Set goals for yourself every week or two to increase your weight in "x". There are a lot of techniques for pushing up in weight in terms of negatives - lowering the weight as slow as possible, going for max - 1 rep of as much as you can, and others.

    I'll say this time and time again, your diet/nutrition is arguably the most important thing in working out, to build muscle 85% of it is gonna be done in the kitchen and 15% actually in the workout area. So eat healthy, try and cut out a lot of processed foods, get a lot more veggies/fruits, eat a lot less breads, and eat a little bit more protein/meat (that's the general fix for most people these days). If i can find a comprehensive guide to nutrition i'll edit this post.

    As for cardio being a bottle neck to working out like others have said that's a rather large exaggeration. Lifting doesn't require the worlds best cardio or even close because you just don't get your heart rate up that high and while higher cardio helps in terms of moving oxygen to your muscles, there's no real need to focus on running/cycling other sorts of cardio very heavily while lifting unless you're doing HITs which is an entirely different scenario. Point being if you're getting bottle necked by cardio while lifting weights, you shouldn't be lifting weights in the first place, you should be working on cardio only.

    Last bit of advice if you're going to workout, then you might as well try to workout and by that i mean actually put effort into every lift. My workout buddy and I work out on two entirely different levels, he just goes in and lifts some weights, and doesn't really try to push himself in terms of getting higher weights, etc. and as a result i moved up quite a bit more than he did in terms of gains. If you're going to workout and spend the time going to the gym and make a post and then reading all of these posts the least you can do to help yourself is to workout with a purpose.

    P.s. This is a very very small synopsis of how to workout, others have already added some good actual workouts to do so i didn't bother with that portion.

  19. #19
    Thanks for the responses guys, they really helped and I will be trying out some of the advise next time I go to the gym Im fairly new to the gym but I will try to find the trainer there so he can help me more

  20. #20
    Warchief Clevername's Avatar
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    First you need to decide what your goals are because that will completely dictate what your workouts will consist of. If you just want to gain muscle size then you're going to be doing the bodybuilding routines which are very isolated movements targeted at specific muslces with the end result being muscle mass gain. If you are trying for just power your workouts will be very different and involve many multimuscle movements. What I encourage you to do is decide your specific goals you want to achieve and then you can research how to achieve those goals. I'd say break down your search criteria into one of these options 1) Bodybuilding 2) Power-lifting 3)Sports Specific Training. Of course all of this is your choice completely.

    If I was you and starting from square one I would move into power-lifting first since it is the fundamental base of weight training. It will not only make you stronger and larger but will be very beneficial as far as learning proper form, technique, balance and explosiveness. Unlike it's bodybuilding cousin you will not be doing long, slow workouts with tons of reps. You will be focusing on very short, intense bursts of power; this type of training will make you more explosive and dynamic. If after awhile in power-lifting you want to go the route of the bodybuilder then you have a great base to go from and understand proper technique and form for all the major lifts.... this was the weigh Arnold did it and many professional bodybuilders have done it. I am 31 did powerlifting / sports specific training from the time I was 15 - 23, got into bodybuilding from 23-29 and have just recently started doing crossfit, I love it but it's not for everyone. Just do plenty of research and identify your personal goals and go from there.

    As for cardio, I always do a little 1/2 mile - mile warmup or 1k row to get the body moving then move into some dynamic stretching it's imperitive to get your muscles and joints warmed up before you move into a workout you should do it just hard enough to break a good sweat and should be no less than 10 minutes.

    Diet is a whole other ballgame and just as important as the actual lifting in terms of building muscle but there are already copious amounts of topics on the boards that you can look at on that subject, main thing is just make sure that you're getting lots of good calories not useless ones.

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